Friday, June 29, 2012
I had pretty low expectations going in to Ted, and I wasn't disappointed. Parts of the film were hilarious, but other parts seemed to drag. I read a tweet that said something like "If you want to see Peter Griffin in bear form, go see Ted," which I very much agree with - the director and writer of the film is Seth MacFarlane, who voices Peter Griffin in the often raunchy TV show Family Guy, and you can definitely see his humor coming through in the movie.
John (played as an adult by Mark Wahlberg, Contraband) is a lonely boy growing up, and when his parents give him a kid-sized teddy bear for Christmas, he's overjoyed. He makes a wish one night that his teddy bear was real and could talk, and when he wakes up the next morning, lo and behold, Ted greets him with a smile. John's parents are initially freaked out by this, but soon say it's a "Christmas miracle!" and Ted quickly becomes famous as news outlets rush to interview him.
We then flip to present day, where John is working at a rental car dealership and still living with Ted. Unfortunately, John's girlfriend of four years, Lori (Mila Kunis, Friends with Benefits), also lives with them, and she's getting a little sick of Ted being around all the time. She asks him to ask Ted to move out, so Ted finds his own place and gets a job at the grocery store to pay his bills. Ted and John continue to hang out frequently, though, which doesn't make Lori happy. John must distance himself from Ted so that his relationship with Lori won't self-destruct, but he finds it hard to "break up" with Ted, who has been his friend for the past twenty-seven years.
This film was wacky and off-the-wall and it's not one you will easily forget. I really liked the beginning and the end of it, but the middle was only okay. Wahlberg and Kunis are fine in their roles, but it's Giovanni Ribisi (Contraband) who really steals the show, as a Ted fanatic who wants to kidnap him so that his weirdo son (Aedin Mincks, The Hangover: Part II) can have him as a toy to play with. There's a scene where Ted walks into their house and there are pictures and news articles about him plastered all over their wall, and Ted snarkily remarks that he has pictures of Ribisi and his son all over his wall as well, which was one of my favorite one-liners in the movie.
Maybe see this movie. It's amazing how "real" Ted seems - there's a particularly memorable scene where he and John have a physical fight, and it really does look like Mark Wahlberg is duking it out with a real-life teddy bear. Apparently they used stand-ins for Ted and then everything was done in post-production, so when you think of it that way it's amazing how the actors interacted with him. However, the film played out a little too much like Family Guy for my taste, and so although I enjoyed the movie as a whole, I can't really recommend it for anything more than a matinee, unless you are a huge fan of Family Guy and Seth MacFarlane.
Ted is in theaters today, June 29th, and is rated R with a runtime of 106 minutes. 2.5 stars out of 5.